Timbers Rumors: Van Rankin, Mabiala, and a new face?

by Charlie Folkestad

It’s been a relatively quiet week along the Timbers rumor mill thus far. That’ll certainly heat up as the shortest offseason ever gets going.

But for those who’ve been too busy stuffing their faces during the holidays (totally understandable), here’s what you may have missed…

Josecarlos Van Rankin back to Chivas?

Rumors of Van Rankin staying and returning appeared throughout the season, but the most concrete news yet appeared on December 21st.

Mexico’s Récord reported that Van Rankin “said goodbye to his latest team, Portland Timbers , through a post on Instagram. The Mexican belongs to Chivas and could wear the red and white shirt again.” (Translated from Spanish via Google.)

The Instagram post in question:



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by J. Van Rankin Galland (@vanrankin0)

Confidence: 90%

Thanks timbers family for an amazing year!” isn’t a 100% goodbye, but it doesn’t seem like JVR will be a Timber next season. He was disappointing for most of 2021 and Portland would have to pony up as his loan here is finished.

Larrys Mabiala gone?

The 34-year-old center back posted a picture on Christmas Day that had some fans skeptical of a return.

Confidence: 49%

A lot of this is due to timing. With Steve Clark moving to Houston Dynamo FC, black and orange are understandable triggers for Timbers fans right now.

But I think people could be reading into this a little too much. Maybe Larrys just wanted to get this sick black and orange fit off. Maybe he’s even wearing it in support of Steve. Or maybe it never even crossed his mind.

Either way, Mabiala is still under contract for next season. His $450,000 salary only gets heftier for a #2 center back as he gets older. Portland’s front office have been open about wanting a young center back for multiple years now.

Even if it’s not to Houston, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mabiala leave the Rose City. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him stay, either.

Jhohan Valencia to Portland?

Jhohan Valencia is a 25-year-old center midfielder from Deportivo Cali in Colombia. If that club sounds familiar, it’s one of Diego Chara’s former stops. Santiago Moreno came from Club America de Cali, Deportivo’s rival.

The source of this rumor is Julian David Salamanca Silva, a Colombian journalist who covers the Cali teams. On Dec. 24th, he posted these rumors.

In the replies, someone asked him which MLS clubs were interested in Valencia. He said Dallas or Portland.

Confidence: 51%

I think there’s a real possibility here. Valencia is a perfect fit of Portland’s player profile, especially for a long-term Diego Chará replacement. I’ll do more scouting if he ends up signing with Portland.

As for the rumor, I’d be lying if I said this was a done deal. But the fact this is coming from a real journalist with a real show in the actual region makes this a pretty solid lead.

As is usually the case in MLS, money is difficult. Remember, Portland already has two DPs (Jarosław Niezgoda and Yimmi Chará) and are looking to re-sign a third (Sebastián Blanco).

Valencia’s value seems pretty high ($1.05 million per Transfermarkt), maybe even Designated Player high. Without public salary cap information, we can’t tell if the Timbers have the space to sign Valencia without saying goodbye to Sebastián Blanco.

That being said, there are plenty of different “money buckets” for the Timbers to draw from. If Valencia can get signed on a non-DP deal, I think this will happen.

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